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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A TRADITION IN THE OLD COUNTRY WAS AFTER CHRISTMAS DINNER THEY
BROUGHT THE FOOD LEFT ON THE TABLE INTO THE BARNS FOR THE COWS TO EAT.
THE COWS WOULD NOT TOUCH THE FOOD UNTIL 12:00 O'CLOCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMALS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F122
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Week Day Hour
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees
Food Drink -- Food

Date learned: 11-00-1972

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CHRISTMAS

IN UKRAINE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF THE BARN CATS AND MICE ARE FED ON
CHRISTMAS EVE, THEY WILL DAMAGE NO PROPERTY FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM PARENTS IN UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 11-17-1967

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CHRISTMAS PREDICTION

IN UKRAINE ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THE HOUSEWIFE TAKES A CHICKEN INTO THE
HALLWAY OF THE HOUSE, PUTS GRAIN INSIDE OF A METAL BARREL-BAND, AND
LETS THE CHICKEN EAT. (THIS SIGNIFIES THAT THE CHICKENS WILL NOT
RUN AWAY ALL YEAR).

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM RELATIVES IN UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): PREDICTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 11-17-1967

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KEEPING THE WOLVES AWAY

DURING CHRISTMAS THE LITTLE POLISH CHILDREN PUT PEAS ON THE WINDOWSILLS IN THE BELIEF THAT IT WOULD STOP THE WOLVES FROM EATING THEIR ANIMALS AT CHRISTMAS TIME.

 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): POLISH CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Beliefs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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Christmas Bean Serving

IT IS A POLISH CUSTOM, DURING CHRISTMAS
EVE DINNER, FOR ALL THE CHILDREN TO SAVE
ONE SPOONFUL OF BEANS UNTIL THE END OF
THE BEAN SERVING. THEY TAKE THIS SPOON AND
GO TO THE BACKDOOR AND THROW THEM
OUTSIDE.

Submitter comment:

THE REASON IS TO SYMBOLICALLY OFFER
THE WOLF FOOD SO HE WILL NOT COME
TO THE DOOR DURING THE UPCOMING YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANIMALS ; FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.4
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

IN UKRAINE ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THE FATHER OF THE HOUSEHOLD STOOD AT
THE DOOR STEP WITH A LOAF OF BREAD IN ONE HAND AND AN AXE IN THE
OTHER. THEN HE INVITED ALL EVIL SPIRITS, WILD ANIMALS, AND STORMS
TO CELEBRATE WITH HIM. IF THEY DIDN'T COME THEN, THEY WOULDN'T FOR
THE REST OF THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM RELATIVES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 11-19-1967

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IN THE UKRAINIAN VILLAGE,
ON CHRISTMAS EVE, PRIOR TO THE EVENING MEAL, A SPOONFUL
OF EACH DISH IS MIXED INTO THE FEED OF THE DOMESTIC
ANIMALS, BECAUSE ANIMALS WERE THE FIRST TO BEHOLD
THE NEW-BORN CHRIST.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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LEAST OF HIS CREATURES

AT THE BIG MEAL ON CHRISTMAS EVE THE POLISH PEOPLE
PUT GRAIN AND OATS UNDER THE DINING ROOM TABLE AND
WHEN THEY FINISHED EATING THEIR MEAL TOOK THESE  OATS
TO THE ANIMALS. THEY DID THIS TO REMIND THEMSELVES
THAT CHRIST IS CONCERNED WITH THE LEAST OF HIS ANIMALS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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FEAST OF THE THREE KINGS

DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON WE DON'T CELEBRATE TOO MUCH. DURING THE
FEAST OF THREE KINGS WE PUT OUR SHOES FULL OF GRASS ON TOP OF THE
WINDOW SILL. SO WHEN THE THREE KINGS PASS BY THE HOUSE AND SEE THE
GRASS THEY WILL LEAVE MONEY FOR THEIR GRATEFULNESS BECAUSE WE HAVE
FED THEIR CAMELS.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): EPIPHANY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Stockings and shoes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 12-04-1965

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CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION

THE MAIN FEATURE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE IS THE EVENING MEAL CALLED
"HOLY SUPPER" (SVYATA VECHERA). THE SUPPER ON HOLY NIGHT HAS
TWELVE LENTEN DISHES, SYMBOLIC OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES WHO GATHERED
AT THE LAST SUPPER. THESE DISHES OMIT ALL ANIMAL FAT, MILK,
AND MILK PRODUCTS BECAUSE DURING CHRISTMAS EVE THERE IS A STRICT
FAST. THE TABLE IS SET FIRST WITH A SMALL HANDFUL OF FINE HAY IN
MEMORY OF THE CHRIST CHILD IN A MANGER. OVER IT IS SPREAD THE
VERY BEST TABLECLOTH ADORNED WITH NATIVE EMBROIDERY. BREAD (KOLACH)
DECORATES THE CENTRAL TABLE. THE KOLACH IS THREE ROUND, BRAIDED
LOAVES, WHICH IS PLACED ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER WITH A CANDLE
INSERTED INTO THE TOP LOAF, AND THE BOTTOM LOAF IS ENCIRCLED
WITH TINY TWIGS OF EVERGREEN. A LIGHTED CANDLE IS ALWAYS PLACED
IN THE WINDOW AS AN INVITATION TO ANY HOMELESS STRANGER TO JOIN
THE FAMILY IN CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.
PRIOR TO THE EVENING MEAL A SPOONFUL OF EACH DISH IS MIXED INTO
THE FOOD OF THE DOMESTIC ANIMALS, BECAUSE ANIMALS WERE THE FIRST
CREATURES TO BEHOLD THE NEW-BORN CHRIST. THE FIRST STAR IN THE
EASTERN SKY ANNOUNCES THE TIME FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE MEAL.
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY GATHER AROUND THE TABLE AND BEGIN THE MEAL
WITH THE LORD'S PRAYER. THE FIRST DISH IS KUTYA , A PREPARATION OF
COOKED WHEAT DRESSED WITH HONEY, GROUND POPPY SEED AND SOMETIMES
CHOPPED NUTS. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY RAISES THE FIRST SPOONFUL
OF THE KUTYA, AND GREETS THE FAMILY WITH KHRYSTOS RODYVSYA}"
(CHRIST IS BORN}), TO WHICH THEY ALL REPLY "SLAVIN YOHO}"
(LET US GLORIFY HIM). AFTER THIS EVERYONE PARTAKES OF THE KUTYA.
KUTYA IS FOLLOWED WITH AN APPETTZER OF PICKLED HERRINGS OR PICKLED
MUSHROOMS, OR WITH A SERVING OF BORSCH (BEET SOUP). AFTER THE
APPETIZERS COMES THE ENTREES. SOME OF THE ENTREES ARE HOLUBTSI
WITH RICE OR BUCKWHEAT (STUFFED CABBAGE), SAUERKRAUT WITH PEAS,
VARENYKY WITH POTATOES OR SAUERKRAUT (DUMPLINGS), AND MAYBE
BAKED BEETS. FOLLOWING THE ENTREES COMES THE DESSERT, SUCH AS
VARENYKY WITH PRUNES, VARENYKY WITH POPPY SEEDS, AND COMPOTE OF
DRIED FRUIT. AFTER THE MEAL, THE FAMILY JOINS IN SINGING CHRISTMAS
CAROLS AND GENERAL MERRY-MAKING. IT IS STRICTLY A FAMILY EVENING.
AFTER MIDNIGHT THE FAMILY ATTENDS A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SERVICE
ENRICHED WITH CHORAL MUSIC. THROUGH THE FOLLOWING DAYS ORGANIZED
GROUPS OF CAROLLERS VISIT THE HOMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Table setting and clearing
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Menus
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Single dishes
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Pastry
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Lights and candles
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Straw
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Songs, caroling
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20 Feeding animals, spirits of trees

Date learned: 12-03-1977

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